Unicorns and Oil Painting: My Trip to SoCal

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You know what is great about living in Cleveland in the middle of February? Getting flown to Southern California for a week to work on a portrait commission! My freeze baby Cali blood came back, though, as once it hit 60 degrees down in the Beach Cities I was freezing! At one point during lunch with my husband’s cousin, he said my teeth were chattering. But hey, he’s from Poland and he was wearing a parka!

So I spent a lot of time in Dana Point working out of my mom and step-dad’s house, spent quite a bit of time in San Clemente with friends from high school and college, ate a ton of Mexican food, consumed much champagne, went to a place featured on Bar Rescue  — that clearly did not take half of the advice given, and even went to a few night clubs in Laguna Beach. Although every night I told the parentals to not “wait up”, I don’t think I ever stayed out past 11pm because I was so tired. I even went to a saloon from my high school days — and drank coffee. In fact, I’m pretty sure our outing to the opening reception at WWA Gallery in Culver City was the latest I stayed up! I was also very uneasy about driving the freeways. I grew up driving all around Southern California like a Queen of the Highway, but I had forgotten what jerks Orange County drivers are! I think by day 5 I had finally gotten my groove back and was driving like a jerk, as well.

This trip was a tad surreal as well. Some very “Real Housewives of Orange County” moments, but with a lot more Russians. The highlight was the impromptu trunk show in a mansion where everything was 80% off and I settled on an amazing Dolce & Gabbana raincoat. With leopard lining — duh! As my friend Andrea put it, you never know what will happen when you go out with me. My last day I went to take out cash for it and waiting impatiently for the Russian man named Boris to meet me at the mansion again, and complete the transaction. Fashion Drug Deal!

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oh don’t mind me, I just think more people should have chandeliers in their bathroom is all…

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The house I spent about half of my time on this trip. Not complaining, and I don’t think I even saw half of it!

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My old friend Lance took me out to Santa Ana for fancy cocktails and dinner. This was at Memphis, where we got whatever the bartender felt like making in the moment. Vanilla and something, I don’t remember but I liked it….

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CalArts classmate Lance, and his wonderful mom…

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Myself, Andrea (unicorn necklace and all), and Suzi!

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The “I Believe in Unicorns” show was super fun. It was also the book party for C.W. Moss who wrote and illustrated “Why Unicorn Drinks” as well as “Unicorn Being A Jerk”. Oh, and hey, what is this now? Where did all these unicorns come from?

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It was hard to get a lot of gallery photos, it was a steady packed house the whole night!

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Mr. Moss signing prints for fans…

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My old pal Dian and her husband-to-be…

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More unicorn girls!

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The best was when they were waiting in line for Gelato and the restaurant we were having dinner at…

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I got into the time warp action with C.W. Moss…

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Go buy his book!

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I suggest you view these paintings yourself. As you can tell, no photograph ever seems to get an accurate color, and there is a lot of texture in the backgrounds, too. In any event, the whole show is up on the WWA Gallery website.

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Back at Casa Dana…

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My mom and step-dad don’t mess around when it comes to their coffee. I still never got it right, I think it was too much effort for me that early in the morning…

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Floppy poodle…

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Django who sat on my lap at all times. ALL THE TIMES.

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Moar coffee to finish the portrait…

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And as far as the portrait commission? The finished work can be viewed here.

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2 Responses to “Unicorns and Oil Painting: My Trip to SoCal”


  1. 1 Maria 02/25/2013 at 12:54 pm

    Arabella, your trip looks amazing! I can only imagine the fun you had. 🙂 Great photos!


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